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Key clashes: West Ham v Palace

December 6 2018

James Tomkins

James Tomkins

Hunter Young examines the major player battles as Crystal Palace visit West Ham in a London derby.

Tuesday night could be considered nothing but a disaster for Crystal Palace. The Eagles were handily defeated by arch-rivals Brighton despite the Seagulls having only 10 men for the last hour of the game.

West Ham have moved on past their slow start and come into the game on good form with three wins from their last five with a loss to Manchester City the only defeat. Palace will need a serious bounce-back performance if they are to get points from this match.

James Tomkins v Javier Hernandez

Even though the Hammers defeated Cardiff City in a midweek match, it proved to be a costly game. Star striker Marko Arnautovic suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him out until the New Year. Javier Hernandez, also known as Chicharito, started the last two games as part of a front two with Arnautovic and will face more pressure to score with the loss of the Austrian.

While no player in the yellow away kits had a good evening on Tuesday night, James Tomkins had possibly the worst performance of all. The centre-back was responsible for Brightonís second goal and largely to blame for their third. There is little doubt that Tomkins will recover from this performance, shutting down Hernandez will be the first step.

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Aaron Wan-Bissaka v Felipe Anderson

Felipe Anderson has proven to be exactly what a club would want from a £36million signing. The former Lazio winger has appeared in all of West Hamís Premier League games and is their joint-top scorer. The Brazilian has a fearsome combination of speed and dribbling ability and is also not afraid to take a long shot. Anderson was also nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month Award for November.

Despite not winning the player of the month award (he had won the first three), Aaron Wan-Bissaka has maintained a high level of play. The young defender, who celebrated his 21st birthday last week, currently ranks second in the Premier League in tackles made and is always lively going forward. Wan-Bissakaís ability to stay tight on Anderson will be key as this will prevent him from shooting from distance or turning to attack on the dribble.

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Wilfried Zaha v Issa Diop

Since arriving from French club Toulouse for more than £20million over the summer, Issa Diop has established himself as one of the best young centre-backs in the English game. The tall and strong defender is an aerial threat in both boxes and most teams attempt to avoid him when attacking the Hammers. Diopís usual partner in the middle, Fabian Balbuena, missed the Cardiff game though injury and his status for Saturday is unclear, making Diop even more important.

Wilfried Zaha started the season red hot form, however has cooled off somewhat since. While still proving eclectic on the ball, Zaha has proved a frustrated figure throughout this slump of form in recent weeks. If Zaha can get space off of Diop so he is not under pressure as soon as he receives the ball he could fancy his chances to attack Diop on the dribble, but would not be favoured to win any physical battles against the almost two meter tall Frenchman.

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